CSCL-intro The Bi-Weekly #7

May 19, 2011, [MD]

I'm back in the game!

Due to a number of circumstances, I was absent from the course for about two weeks. This was much longer than I had planned, and I apologize for it. I am also very grateful to Monica for her great work in the interim. It feels great to be back, seeing the energy of the course, and getting back into it.

It was quite overwhelming to re-enter the course after two weeks, which made me think about is how we can help people who "fall off" a course get back on. Related to this, I sent gentle messages to a number of core participants who haven't been very active, inviting them to rejoin us, we'll see if anyone takes me up on it.

My initial instinct would be to start with the readings in week 2, and slowly work through everything to "catch up". However, experience has taught me that that might not be the best way - while you are busy catching up, the course marches forward, and you might never be able to get back on the train. So I focused on the readings for week 4, and intend to go back and "backfill" once I get time.

Weekly meeting

I'm moving this up to make sure you see it. This week, we propose to meet at 6PM EST (which will be 6AM here in China, but I'm in a village where everyone gets up early) in Etherpad. This time, we will try to combine whole-group discussion in Etherpad with one-on-one (dyadic) discussion in Skype, so please have your Skype ready, and add your Skype name to the Etherpad. It would be very helpful if you had at least read one of the weekly articles before coming to the meeting (to help the discussion).

This week's theme

We had two quite challenging, but very rich readings this week, from two key members of the field:

So far, I think I am the only one who has blogged about these two readings, on Scardamalia and on Stahl. I also took quite extensive notes on both articles, so if you haven't read them yet, those might be helpful to you (I've been playing a lot with my new wiki, which I will blog about more later).

There were two supplementary readings:

Jennifer provided a summary of the Zhang et al. article, apparently especially dedicated to Martin :)

Last week

****Many of the contributions this week have still be catching up with last week's theme. Monica made a really neat idea map of the course so far. Martin discussed the mycorrhizae paper and asked how a social network of doctors could be formed, with the challenge of medical privacy. A very nice discussion occurred in the comments.

Incidentally, one of the challenges of blog-based courses is the comments - how will you know about this discussion, if you a) read the blog in your Google Reader, or b) read it at first, before all the comments, and never go back to it? Hopefully, the distributed social web will eventually enable the P2PU site to solve this problem.

Martin also blogged about a large undergraduate course he will be teaching online in the fall. How can ideas from this course help him make the course better? A great challenge to all of us, feel free to jump in with ideas!

Related to the idea of creating a manifesto, Marcy posted a link to the World Economics Forum manifesto. There was also some discussion about Nate Otto's very neat visualization of the Etherpad discussion.

Other related blog posts

Apart from the course readings, I blogged about my notes from AERA 11, and a presentation I gave called Grappling with ideas. Both of these are relevant to the course topic.

Activity on the site

****On the discussion on the weekly task, Monica proposed a number of guiding questions, including an encouragement to use debate graph to answer "Some believe that Knowledge Building pedagogy as Scardamalia describes it here is not realistic for a traditional classroom setting. Do you agree? What are the major barriers and how do you see non-traditional settings as either challenging or reinforcing these barriers?". Nobody has taken her up on that challenge yet.

She also linked to a PowerPoint explaining Knowledge Building to teachers. Marcy described the content of this course to someone who works for the Prince of Wales(!), and Jennifer's whole family is down with the flu (we wish you rapid recovery!).

Have a great week, try to catch up with readings, although I know we're all busy, and see you on Saturday!


Stian Håklev May 19, 2011 Toronto, Canada
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